RV Troubleshooting Tips: 12-volt System Not Working

RV Troubleshooting Tips: 12-volt System Not Working
RV Troubleshooting Tips: 12-volt System Not Working

Tips on How To Troubleshoot an RV 12-volt System

Your RV relies on its 12-volt electrical system to power like your water pump, lights, and other necessities. When it doesn’t work, it’s a major problem. How can you find out what’s wrong with your 12-volt system and how can it be fixed?

Your RV’s 12-volt system runs off of the batteries, and if they are dead, damaged, or undercharged, that could stop your 12-volt system from working. Likewise, your inverter/converter is also essential to your 12-volt electrical system, and that could be the source of the problem.

Troubleshooting the RV 12-volt System

To fix the problem, first, you need to know what it is. The problem could be:

  • Dead batteries
  • Undercharged batteries
  • No water in the batteries
  • Loose battery connections
  • A burned-out fuse on the inverter/converter
  • Loose connections on the inverter/converter
  • A tripped breaker
  • Unplugged from shore power

Dead Batteries

The obvious solution is to recharge the batteries immediately. Unfortunately, if your batteries are completely drained, they may no longer effectively hold a full charge.

Undercharged Batteries

If your batteries have previously completely drained, they may no longer hold a complete charge. Likewise, your batteries could simply be worn out, and it’s time to replace them.

No Water in the Batteries

When your batteries get overworked and overheat, they can lose water through evaporation. The solution is to take the caps off the batteries and add distilled water. But don’t fill the batteries to the top, the water just needs to cover the plates.

Loose Battery Connection

Be very careful, you don’t want to electrocute yourself. If tightening the connections doesn’t fix the problem, then you may need to get new cables.

Burned Out Fuse or Loose Connections on the Inverter/Converter

The fuses on the inverter/converter fuses can loosen or burn out over time. Your inverter/converter has one or two fuses, check them, and if they’re burned out, replace them. You also need to check the wires and connections on the inverter/converter. If it doesn’t have any loose connections or the fuses burn out again, contact an RV repair technician to thoroughly diagnose the problem. You may need a new inverter/converter.

A Tripped Breaker

If you’re plugged in at an RV park, you could have tripped a breaker on the power pole. This can happen if you run the air conditioner and microwave oven at the same time. Go outside and flip the breakers, and only use the AC or the microwave one at a time.

If none of these troubleshooting suggestions resolves the problem, it’s time to call in an RV repair technician who is very familiar with the RV electrical system.


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1 thought on “RV Troubleshooting Tips: 12-volt System Not Working”

  1. Thanks so much for your video. Had the same problem, no 12 volt, just 120. My stabilizer jacks would not work on battery, which was a pain when trying to set up. First thing I had to do was hook up to shore power (as you called it). A few years ago I did hook up my battery incorrectly, positive to negative, etc. Blew the radio fuse and the main 40 amp fuse. I did not know of the manual circuit breaker, until this video. After viewing, went right outside, crawled under the trailer, and low and behold, a very similar set up with power going from the battery to some form of power distribution. Like the video, there was a button, that when pushed, snapped in. Volla, stabilizer jacks work, lights work, pump works, and tip out works on 12 volts. Thank you so much. Have been stewing about this for a long time now.


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